‘Historic’ bill banning corporal punishment of children in Pakistan | Global development

Pakistan has passed a bill banning corporal punishment of children in a move called “historic” by rights activists.

The incident comes amid a spate of high-profile beatings and deaths of schoolchildren, schools, religious institutions and workplaces.

Last month, an eight-year-old The boy was beaten For not memorizing lessons in a religious school – a madrassa – a religious school in the province of Punjab through his teacher. In June 2020, there was another eight-year-old girl who worked as a maid in Islamabad Beaten up Through its employers that they allow their pet parrots to escape. These and other incidents, including disturbing mobile phone footage posted on social media, have led to a nationwide debate over the use of corporal punishment in this country.

The bill, passed by the National Assembly, bans fines for beating children and all forms of corporal punishment in various educational settings, including in formal and informal workplaces and in religious, public and private institutions. There is a patchwork of legislation on corporal punishment in different states of Pakistan and at present The bill only applies to IslamabadBut it is thought that the rest of the world will follow suit.

He said that it was historic for Pakistan to pass a bill for the welfare of children by consensus. “Children have always been silent in our society,” Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, a law-making politician, told the Guardian. Corporal punishment is on the rise in this country. Until then, the state had no measures to intervene in such situations of violence. The law prohibiting corporal punishment of children is the first bill to ensure the physical and mental health of children in Pakistan.

Musician Shehzad Rai is the founder of the Zindagi Trust, which has been campaigning on the issue for a decade. Last year, he filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court seeking a ban on killing children. In 2020, Justice Athar Minallah advised the National Assembly to pass the bill.

In 2013, Dr. Atiya Inayatullah passed a bill in the National Assembly against corporal punishment which was not passed in the Senate. We expect that this time the Senate will also pass the bill and all the Provincial Assemblies will follow it.

He said the challenge would be for legal entities and government ministries to formulate detailed rules for overseeing and enforcing legislation.

“We hope the bill will make a difference,” said Shirin Mazari, Pakistan’s human rights minister, who introduced amendments to the bill to ensure the perpetrators are punished and children are given justice.

Syed Muqdad Mehdi, a children’s rights activist and lawyer, said the biggest hurdle was section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which allowed teachers, parents and guardians to punish children in “good faith”. The new bill is designed to close at a time when 24 million children in Pakistan are out of school.

“Many children drop out of school because of punishment. The law brings instability. It needs to be enforced,” Mehdi said.

“The tragedy was that in Pakistani society, corporal punishment is being meted out from home to school to the police force, and violence is seen as a way to solve this problem,” Rai said.

“More needs to be done,” he said. A child protection unit and a system should be set up to ensure proper reporting procedures.

We need to challenge this mindset. Beating children does not help them in any way. Instead, it destroys their creativity and violates fundamental rights. Children need to be made to feel dignified.

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